commemorative tribute - special flowers

It is hard to believe that few weeks have already passed by, since my Dad (Tato – in Ukrainian) passed away.

It is always very difficult for those who stay behind, to deal with such sad times in our life, losing a loved one, no matter how young, or old they were.

Time heals wounds.  Faith in God, prayers, support from family and friends, and sweet memories of the good times we shared together with our departed loved one, keep us moving forward.

Today, I would like to pay tribute to my Dad; to reminisce about some of the things he enjoyed in his life,  and to share them with you, through pictures.

commemorative tribute

These are my parents on their Wedding Day, 63 years ago.

commemorative tribute - Ukrainian Church - Dobra, Poland

This is a Ukrainian Catholic Church, in Dobra, Ukraine (now Poland), where my Father was Baptized.  It has been renovated after World War II, and became a Polish church.  The leaning cross by the fence, is part of a Ukrainian Cemetery, where many of our family members are buried.

commemorative tribute - pigeons

My Father loved domesticated pigeons, and as long as I can remember, he always had a bunch of them.  These birds could be annoying in the city, but in the suburbs, they make a quite entertaining pet.

commemorative tribute  - horses 2 commemorative tribute  - horses

My Dad loved horses.  These horses reminded me of the way a Bride and Groom used to ride on their Wedding Day, as my parents did too.

commemorative tribute - bee keeping commemorative tribute - loved fishing

He liked fishing, but he really enjoyed beekeeping.  The above pictured bee hives are in  my brother-in-law’s back yard, with whom my dad loved sharing his beekeeping expertise.

commemorative tribute - Kolomeyka dance Kolomeyka dance

My Dad’s life had numerous ups and downs, growing up without a father, who passed away when my Dad was 5 years old.  There were 5 children left behind, with the oldest being 12, and the youngest only few weeks old.  My Dad became to “stand in” father for his youngest sister.

My Dad worked hard to help his mom to carry on, as she never remarried, but he also knew how to forget his sorrows, and enjoy life.

He loved to read, dance, participate in plays, play various instruments, and most of all, he loved  singing.  I was the lucky one to inherit some of his traits.

In the picture above, at the age of 88, he is doing very well keeping up with some intricate steps of a traditional Ukrainian Kolomeyka dance , with these young ladies who are more than 60 years younger than him.  He felt very young at heart!

commemorative tribute -Bandura player commemorative tribute - playing his song

In the pictures above, my Dad is reliving his younger years, watching these artists perform, and remembering the days when he was singing, and playing these instruments, at numerous weddings and plays.

My Dad would always sing me at least one song, during our phone conversations.  If I was worried about something, he would say “let me sing you a song”, and at an instant would come up with an uplifting song for me.

The last song he sang to me will never cease to resonate in my mind, and my heart.  Little I knew this would be our last song, so here is a link to this song, if you would like to hear it.

commemorative tribute - Taras Shevchenko - Washington DCcommemorative tribute  -Ukrainian Cathedral in Philadelphia

Four years ago, I was very lucky to spend a considerable amount of time with my Dad, here in the US, while he was visiting with my sister, brother, and sister-in-law.

It was a very lucky year for all of us, here in the US, since he was also able to attend a Christening of his great-granddaughter, and a wedding of his grandson.

He was such a good sport, walking everywhere with us, while visiting Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York City.

The above picture is of my Dad in Washington DC, next to the monument of his favorite Ukrainian Poet, Taras Shevchenko.

My Dad had practically memorized the whole book, Kobzar, written by Taras Shevchenko.  He often would quote some of the passages from Kobzar, to support the advice he was offering  to me.

He felt very connected, being able to enter the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Philadelphia, as seen above. He longed for the Ukrainian community life, and its church, since he was not able to enjoy these freely where he lived.

commemorative tribute - walnut tree

I will end this short journey of sweet memories of my Dad, with my favorite picture of him, taken in our back yard, while he was anchoring a young walnut tree, to protect if from wind damage.

This tree was gifted to us by my uncle, my father’s younger brother, whom my Dad had not seen  for 70 years, from the day his little brother was taken by the Germans to a Forced Labor Camp in Germany, during World War II, until this day.  It was a very moving meeting of the two brothers, to say the least.  Who would have thought this was their first, and last visit together.

During my last few conversations with my Dad, he expressed pride in the decision he made few decades ago, assisting me with immigrating to US, alone, as a young teenager, and starting new life in a free country.

Living a free man, was something he always longed for, and tried to achieve several times, but unfortunately was never able to realize this dream.

DYAKUYU TOBI TATO!

(THANK YOU DAD!)

Vichnaya Tobi Pamyat.

(May You Rest in Eternal Peace)

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12 Responses

  1. Valerie

    March 26th, 2012 at 8:24 am

    1

    Our prayers go out to you and your family for your great loss. My grandfather was a bee keeper until the age of 90. My dad also loved to
    have pigeons in his yard. Many times I think of him and my mother for the all the wonderful stories and the traditions that they passed onto me and my children. They all came from a great generation, they loved life and really appreciated the simple everyday things around them. I guess they had the answer to what life should consist of. Family, friends and freedom to live as you want to and can afford to. God bless that generation. Our prayer is that you dad will rest in peace and have everlasting happiness in heaven. “Vichaya Pamyat”

  2. Marilyn

    March 26th, 2012 at 9:37 am

    2

    What a beautifully written celebration of your Father’s life. I lost my Dad when I was young , he is in my heart and memory!

    Life seemed to be so much more simpler although filled with such hard work, yet life was filled with much happiness and joy with religion so prevalent in our lives!
    Cherish your memories of your Father

  3. Suburban Grandma

    March 26th, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    3

    Thank you so much for sharing your memories, and for your kindness.

  4. Suburban Grandma

    March 26th, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    4

    Thank you so much.
    There is so much to learn from older people, but one needs to make the time and have patience to listen.

  5. Stefanie Walcek

    March 27th, 2012 at 4:08 am

    5

    Thank you for sharing your memories & pictures of your “Tato.” This reminded me of my Tato i Mama who has passed.

    Accept my condolences….Stefanie

  6. Suburban Grandma

    March 27th, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    6

    So sorry to hear about your Mama and Tato, not being with you any longer.
    Thank you so much for your kind comments, and thoughtfulness.
    We all would like to have our loved ones with us forever, but we know that is impossible, so we have to accept God’s plan.

  7. Diana

    March 30th, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    7

    My sweet SG this is such a lovely and moving tribute to your dad. He looks like and sounds like an amazing man. Im glad he got to enjoy all of these events with you.

    My love to you and your family. xoxo

    Hearing about him singing reminds me of my husband’s grandfather who loves to sing and record himself. When we go to visit him he always sings or plays his recordings for us. Sadly my grandparents passed when I was a teen. I think about them all the time, especially now that I collect owls because my grandmother used to have a great big owl clock! :)

  8. Suburban Grandma

    March 30th, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    8

    Thank you so much sweetie. You are such a caring young lady. Time heals wounds, and I am doing better with accepting the situation.
    You are lucky to share such a kind grandfather who loves to sing. I wish we had a recording of my dad’s singing…..at least I have a bunch of notes from him about our roots, so some day I will put it all together for our family history.
    Enjoy Easter with your family.

  9. Lori

    April 3rd, 2012 at 11:51 am

    9

    What a touching and loving tribute to your father. I’m sorry for your loss and yet so thankful for all of the beautiful memories. I’ve always admired you and when reading this I felt admiration for your father as well. I enjoyed each memory and especially loved the one of the planting of the walnut tree.

    May God continue to bless you and your family.

    With Love,
    Lori

  10. Suburban Grandma

    April 3rd, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    10

    Thank you so much Lori for your kindness, and your sweet comments.
    I often think about you, and wonder how you are doing, and if you still live around here.
    So nice of you to spend your valuable time to visit my site and leave comments. Thank you so much.
    Hope all is well with you and your family.

  11. Richard Bell

    April 13th, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    11

    That was a wonderful story you did on your father. I especially enjoyed the part about how he was not afraid to dance with ladies much younger than himself. I recognize one of those bridesmaids!

  12. Suburban Grandma

    April 14th, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    12

    Thank you very much.
    My dad really enjoyed that Ukrainian Traditional wedding. I think it brought back many of his youth memories, and more.


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